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The NCH Healthcare System is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation serving Collier County and surrounding areas. NCH has evolved over the last sixty years, becoming one of the most progressive healthcare systems in the country, embracing new technology and evidence-based medicine. NCH offers a wide range of services, physicians and locations. More than just hospitals, the NCH Healthcare System is an alliance of over 730 physicians and medical facilities in dozens of locations throughout Southwest Florida.
Our physicians see patients about 3 million times a year. We admit about 40,000 patients a year. We celebrate the birth of about 3,400 bouncing new babies annually. Our 24/7 ERs help patients about 98,000 times a year.
An effort in 1949 sought $40,000 for a clinic, but the plan was abandoned after only $20,000 was raised.
In 1952 things began to change, with the effort focusing on a 25-bed hospital. The effort brought incorporation in April 1953 for Naples Memorial Hospital as a non-profit organization.
Ten citizens pledged to underwrite $250,000 for the hospital – half of what was needed. A renewed effort from the 1949 plan for community funds put the project past its goal in 1954.
Groundbreaking on the first building was held Dec. 21, 1954 and the name changed to Naples Community Hospital in November 1955.
The hospital was dedicated in a community ceremony on March 4, 1956, and opened its doors three days later on March 7, 1956, to its first patient, 6-year-old Evelyn Hall, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Troy Hall. The attending physician was Dr. William Bailey to repair stitches in her eyelid that she had received after running into a wire fence.
In a special “Hospital Edition” after years of coverage of the attempt to establish such a medical facility, the Collier County News, which would become the Naples Daily News, bannered the headline: “New Hospital A Naples Triumph.”
It wasn’t long before growth became a key word in every Neapolitan’s vocabulary.
In 1963, the “Space Program” was instituted in the spring to raise funds for an expansion of the hospital. In all, $1.7 million would be raised for a new laboratory, X-ray and physical therapy department, and an emergency room.
As an interim help with demands on the hospital, the Board of Trustees approved construction of an addition and groundbreaking on the building took place in July 1963 and it opened to patients on Jan. 6, 1964. NCH’s bed capacity was raised to 62.
The NCH “Space Program” expansion saw its groundbreaking on March 7, 1965, nine years and two days after the hospital’s opening. At the time it was the biggest construction job in Collier County history.
Construction on the expansion project was completed in 1966 and the new facilities opened in December with NCH then having 116 beds. In the next year, by December 1967, NCH was running at full patient capacity and the Board of Trustees began finalizing plans for the next expansion of 50 additional beds and shells for additional floors for future expansions.
May 1969 saw construction begin for NCH’s Special Care Wing. It was the year that the Dual Progress Program was launched to develop financial support for upgrading technical facilities and another bed expansion. The new section would include an intensive care unit, cardiac care unit and progressive care unit. More than $3 million was raised in this effort.
The Special Care Wing with its 26 beds opened in January 1970. Also in 1970, a $2.2 million second phase of the Dual Progress Program started construction on an expansion to six floors of the hospital. On Jan. 27, 1971, a third-floor medical-surgical wing opened with 50 beds. With the latest expansion, NCH’s total bed count reached 191 then to 300 with the opening of the North Tower.
Later in the 1970s, a $16.5 million fundraising effort brought in funds for the new six-story South Tower and expansion of the laboratory, surgical suites and physical and respiratory therapy areas.
The expansion of the South Tower and the environmental services building were completed in 1980 and bed expansion passed the 400-bed mark.
The days of being a purely “downtown” hospital ended with NCH’s development of the North Collier Health Center, a round-the-clock satellite of NCH that opened on Oct. 15, 1984. The operation offered emergent and primary care to northern Collier County and south Lee County.
On Feb. 4, 1985, the Marco Island Urgent Care Center opened under NCH management. A variety of services for minor illnesses and injuries were offered to the island community.
The ongoing expansion of NCH saw the completion in 1986 of the then-current downtown program that included the demolition of the original NCH building and work continued into 1987 for refurbishing of such components as a supply department and the main lobby.
Space leased to Naples Day Surgery in 1986 brought the first helicopter landing pad to the NCH campus, thereby reducing critical care time. Previously, medical flights had to land at such locations as vacant property next to the downtown library branch (several blocks south of NCH) and then transportation via ambulance to the hospital.
The 1990s opened with NCH becoming a two-hospital system. The North Collier Hospital opened in January with a 50-bed, full service acute-care facility. The expansion was planned to meet the growing needs of northern Collier County and southern Lee County residents. It was a complete hospital with obstetrics, 36 medical-surgical beds and six intensive care beds. Other services included scanning, endoscopy, nuclear medicine, respiratory therapy, radiology, ultrasound and a medical laboratory.
Responding to the need to expand outpatient services in 1994, North Collier Hospital added a 30,000-square-foot outpatient wing, including a new emergency department.
1996 WAS A BUSY YEAR
In late 1996, NCH consolidated its obstetrical and newborn services at the North Collier campus. This wing was named "The BirthPlace" and offered triage bays and a dozen labor, delivery and recovery rooms. Today, the General David H. and Shirley A. Baker Women’s & Children's Pavilion houses all obstetrical, and newborn services.
In late 1996, NCH expanded its cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program to North Collier Hospital.
One of the biggest pieces of news since the founding of NCH in the 1950s was the opening of the Shick Heart Center in October 1996. The cardiac care center’s services meant that patients no longer had to leave Collier County for coronary bypass or repair procedures. Today NCH performs more than 400 open-heart surgeries each year and has become a top-ranked destination for cardiac excellence in Florida.
Two of the newer features of the NCH Baker Hospital Downtown campus are the Briggs Health Pavilion, which opened in November 2006, and the Garden of Hope and Courage which offers a beautiful place of respite and calm for NCH patients, caregivers, and staff and made its debut in October 2006. The Briggs Health Pavilion gives NCH a signature building on the corner of Fourth Avenue North and U.S. 41. This building contains a state-of-the-art Briggs Wellness Center along with cardiac rehabilitation, physical/occupational/speech rehabilitation and the von Arx Diabetes and Nutrition Center. NCH continues to change the face of cardiac care in Southwest Florida with the opening of The NCH Heart Institute in November 2011. The NHI team of 13 dedicated physicians and additional staff members specializes in the management of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease in one convenient location.
NCH’s North Naples Hospital campus is home today to the Jay & Patty Baker Patient Care Tower, The BirthPlace, the Robert and Mariann MacDonald SeaCAREium Pediatric Unit, and the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Rehabilitation.
In August 2012, the NCH Healthcare System became a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. NCH is the first member of the network in Florida and the Southeast region of the United States.
The Mayo Clinic Care Network extends Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise to physicians and providers interested in working together in the best interest of their patients. NCH’s physicians will have access to Mayo Clinic, including the ability to collaborate with Mayo Clinic physicians on patient care, community health, and innovative health care delivery.
The Mayo Clinic Care Network represents non-ownership relationships. The network’s primary goal is to help people gain the benefits of Mayo Clinic expertise close to home, ensuring that patients travel outside the region only when necessary.